Tag Archives: interiors

not just copper orange.


The big news in colour is Copper Orange, Colour of the year 2015. Copper has been an emergent trend for a while now, and shows no sign of waning (the Facade of the Year is also copper).

Colour forecasting is a fascinating world, as I discovered in a workshop I attended this morning given by the paint and coatings manufacturer AkzoNobel. It’s not just about the colours we will be buying into in the year ahead; it is an indicator of the way we live and what we are striving for. The other big ideas behind the colour forecast for 2015 are themes of transparency and layering (refer the House of the Year 2014, a transparent house); his and hers, a celebration of the differences between us; merging and gradient colours and non repeating pattern (no more matchy matchy); noticing the undiscovered and negative space.

Fascinating. More, here. Happy weekend.

stockholm modern.

Within such an elegantly ornate interior, the bold mix of contemporary art and Scandinavian design classics creates a tension that feels utterly harmonious in this Stockholm apartment.

In the wood-panelled office, pale, angular furniture with simple, masculine forms counter balance the intensely decorative interior. Textures contrast wildly, too: rich, honey-coloured woodwork and an emerald green marble fireplace neither over-power nor dominate with a contemporary shaggy rug to soften the effect.

Classic furniture pieces feature throughout, including 1930s Artek chairs and a coffee table by Poul Kjaerholm. Other iconic Alvar Aalto pieces can be found in the children’s room; the Artek Chair 66, and Table 90A. I love this room with its collection of snow globes (one of my personal favourite collectibles), and colourful Russian dolls, all vivid reds against the light wood and neutral walls. And there is nothing retiring about the lighting, with 1950s Orrefors chandeliers hanging all about, and the Flos Taccia lamp adding drama to a sideboard vignette.


 More, here and here

Office photograph, Felix Odell. All others, Idha Lindhag


a parisian in grey part II.

With Paris still very much on my mind, I came across this beautiful interior, again in a classic Haussmann building, via the always interesting D Pages (see my previous Paris post, here)


The designers job, in this case, was to allow the home to adapt to a contemporary lifestyle whilst maintaining, along with the period mouldings and fireplaces, its essence. Circulation through the space has been simplified, alignments and vistas created. Individual rooms remain but are opened up, allowing an open plan layout or closed off, as required.

From palest pearl to anthracite, grey is again the predominant wall colour, this time accented with white. Dark stained parquet on the floors and black lacquered MDF panels provide the main surfaces off which the fixtures hang. Rich timber Danish mid-century furniture and a three-dimensional tone-on-tone wall hanging sit alongside other classic and vintage pieces in the living spaces. Sofas and chairs are neutral in colour, strong in form. The black-stained solid oak kitchen has a central island and Zimbabwe black granite worktop and tiled splashback. Jade green artwork provides the colour. An anthracite grey library is off-set with a vivid red 60’s armchair and footstool.

The bathroom beautifully exemplifies the blend of old and new, with traditional fireplace, plasterwork and chandelier alongside colourful, framed lithographs and contemporary window treatments.

What do you think of this mix of old and new? Which Paris apartment, part 1 or part 11, is your favorite?

Casa Parigi by Studio Double G, here  Photographs, Helenio Barbetta

More wonderful spaces, here

a parisian in grey.

This beautiful interior intrigues for two reasons. First, we are heading to Paris for a few days and this home is housed in a classic Haussmann apartment; and second, we are in the throes of purchasing a new flat here in London, with very high ceilings, period detailing, and parquet floors. I cannot wait to start decorating (although we had better exchange first!)

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The interior designer owner has painted the entire space in a darkish mid grey – walls, ceilings, mouldings, cornices, architraves. I love this contemporary idea – all surfaces are treated with equal importance, rather than the traditional route of picking out details and giving them a hierachy. Tall French doors and equally vertiginous mirrors bounce the light around and keep the apartment from feeling drab. Gleaming dark-stained herringbone floors reflect the light and continue to bounce it around.

Grey is a fabulous muse for vivid colours; the lilac pink sofas, although not to my taste, work beautifully. Red appears throughout in artwork, positioned to entice the eye from one room to the next. Quirky artworks abound, as do odd, mismatched chairs, giving a it a charming, off-beat yet utterly elegant air. The study appears to be a departure, with a half-painted wall (I love half-painted walls and have several pinned on Pinterest, here); black door frames, stair and rope handrail, ravishing teal-coloured curtains and bright red Eames shell chair.

New Paris Style via Habitually Chic. Photos by Richard Powers and Jean-Marc Palisse

Would you use grey for the walls in your home? A useful resource for selecting the right shade of grey can be found, here

More wonderful Parisian spaces, here. Bon weekend!

50 best rooms.

I love the idea of a ‘best rooms’ award – not house, or interior, but room. Aussie interiors publication Australian House and Garden does one annually. The contenders vary wildly in style and presumably budget (it’s not clear what the criteria is). This year features a bathroom designed by the architecture studio of friends from my Melbourne University days, in typically quirky style, rich in materiality and texture (no 23!). These are my favourites:

04 04.   Geometric cut-outs in an all-white volume by Decus

1414. Black-stained wood, exposed brick and a contrasting diaphonous curtain by Beatrix Rowe Interior Design

1515. Pale wood and simple, geometric shapes by O’Connor and Houle Architecture

2323. Rich-red slatted wood and bold white pattern by AlsoCan architects


26. Linear indoor/outdoor space by Drew Heath Architects

3131. Heightened sense of scale and a wall of art by Sarah Davison Interior Design


46.   Black framing against white-on-white elements by Whiting Architects

Which is your favourite? 50 Best Rooms of 2013, here

More good design, here

shearers quarters house.

Vernacular architecture has always fascinated me – a building that is perfectly allied to its landscape, is contextual, and serves its end use with maximum function and purpose. This building appears to follow that philosophy and then some..

Shearers Quarters house sits as a companion building to an existing historic cottage on a working sheep farm, on an island off the Tasmanian coast. Not your average brief – it was designed to house shearers, family and friends on annual tree planting weekends and retreats. It comprises an open-plan living/dining/kitchen, bathroom and utility, two bedrooms and a bunkroom. A slender skillion roof at one end transforms to a broad gable at the other, opening up the form to the wonderful views beyond. The geometry of this shift is evident internally in the geometry of the internal walls and window frames.

The simplest palette of materials has been used: corrugated galvanised iron to the exterior, timber internally. Pinus Macrocarpa is the primary timber used, sourced from old rural windbreaks. The bedrooms are lined out in recycled applebox crates, gathered from orchards of a nearby valley where the timber had remained stacked but unused since the late 1960s. This rhythm of small, regular pieces of wood becomes the decoration. Metal is also used folded to form shelves to store logs, and to create a wall of books.

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Shearers Quarters House by John Wardle Architects, via

Photographs: Trevor Mein

Another wonderful example of vernacular building, this time in the Danish forest, here

interior of the year.

I’m always curious to see what is new and happening in my home town of Melbourne, especially when it comes to design. Winner of the Residential Design awards at this year’s Australian Interior Design Awards was this house – Park House in Melbourne. The design was celebrated for its ‘seamless and effortless spatial flow, which achieves a sincere sense of livability and controlled softness throughout’.

Everything in this home is highly controlled, from the super-fine, curved metal balustrade and opposing recessed handrail through to the vertical garden. However, an organic quality also exists – horizontally, in the flow of the spaces, as well as vertically, with curved, plastered walls continuing up past the ceiling planes, allowing the light to stream down in between in a controlled, but playful, manner.

The palette and detailing is again purposefully restrained, with a clear emphasis on materiality. Wood ceilings, for example, are a wonderful way to bring in warmth and softness as a counterpoint to the hard stone floors. Glass, plaster and metal elements are all utilised in the creation of the flowing forms and spaces. Furniture and fittings are perfectly suited and again selected for finish and form.

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The house was a collaboration between Leeton Pointon Architects + Interiors and Allison Pye Interiors. Park House via Australian Design Review, here. Photographs, Peter Bennetts.

Which of the elements stand out for you?

More wonderful spaces, here

a glamorous modernist.

In a series of low-slung, white, modernist buildings set among vineyards is this hotel. The warm, earth-toned interiors are dominated by wood and slate, with timber slat walls dividing the linear spaces according to function. Copper light fittings and bronze sculptural pieces add glamour to the wonderfully textural, bespoke furniture pieces.

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This is the first project in Portugal to be certified under BREEAM. BREEAM (BRE – Environmental Assessing Method) is a standardised environmental assessment method and rating system for buildings. A BREEAM assessment uses recognised measures of performance to evaluate a building’s specification, design, construction and use. The measures used represent a broad range of categories and criteria from energy to ecology. More about BREEAM, here

So – good looks AND green credentials. I think I’d like to be checking in about now…

L’and Vineyards, Montemor, Portugal by StudioMK27 with Promontorio architects; photography Fernando Guerra.

More wonderful spaces, here

eclectic loft style.

Industrial, eclectic, contemporary, this apartment in Paris is wonderfully open and spacious, yet intimate.

The interior has been stripped back to its shell, and the structure – concrete columns and beams and the odd brick wall – kept in their raw state. The original iron work of the window frames (and a wonderful transparent screen between the bathroom and bedroom, just glimpsed in the photographs) have been painted black, causing them to recede.  There is a lightness of touch – the structure is expressed, but it doesn’t overwhelm. A wide-planked American oak floor has been added for warmth.

The palette and fittings are kept simple with shades of grey, black and white, allowing the fabrics and materials of the found objects – a mix of industrial pieces and flea market finds – to add their own exuberant colour and texture. I spy contemporary design classics too – Eames DSW side chair (on sale, here), Bertoia side chair, Butterfly chair.

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Photography Birgitta Wolfgang Drejer via 

There is an interesting article entitled The Raw Design Movement, here, identifying the use of raw materials as an interior design trend going forward in 2013. This isn’t a new idea, but I’m all for materials left in their natural state. What do you think of the use of natural, unembellished  materials in interiors? Does this eclectic, raw loft space inspire you?

More wonderful spaces, here.


Bronze is the subject of the eponymous exhibition at the Royal Academy (deemed ‘utterly splendid’ by the marvellous Andrew Graham Dixon, read the review, here). It traces works in bronze from antiquity to now, from Rodin to Henry Moore, Ghiberti to Louise Bourgeois.

It is also something of a current trend in interiors, so this is my homage to the exhibition – the best of interior bronze. But first, the chemistry: it’s an alloy of copper, with tin, zinc and lead in lesser amounts. Inherently tough and resistant but much more malleable than its sculptural rivals, stone and wood, it has been used in household objects as well as sculpture for centuries. It ranges in colour from palest gold to darkest blue-brown, and can be matt finish or polished.

Enjoy the bronze edit!

1  tile   /   11 light (see my review, here)   /  111 light    /  1V  stool    /   V  trough    /   V1 mirror

Bronze is at the Royal Academy of Arts in London until December 9.